A neighborhood of church leaders in Southern California was arrested on Tuesday in a case of forced labor involving homeless people. supposedly held in opposition to his will and coerced into giving up their welfare advantages to the church.
Twelve leaders of the Imperial Valley Ministries, essentially based in El Centro, California, were arrested for conspiracy fees, forced labor, document bondage and advantage fraud, accused of recruiting dozens of homeless people for unpaid work, promising free meals and refuge, according to a federal prosecution.
Imperial Valley Ministries has about 30 non-denominational churches in the US and Mexico. Its mission is to “restore” drug addicts in totally religion-based neighborhood homes and expand money to originate church buildings in various cities to invent the comparable, according to the prosecution.
The church's usual pastor used to be among the 12 prisoners.
"The prosecution alleges a terrible abuse of power by church officials who attacked weak homeless people with promises of mattress and hot meals," said Robert Brewer, the US Legal Department's first price in a statement on Tuesday. "These victims were held captive, stripped of their humble monetary income, their identification, their freedom and their dignity."
Some victims said they were forced to manipulate up to 54 hours a week for the honest and monetary and honest thing about church leaders, while others reported being kept in rehab houses in opposition to their will, prosecutors said.
“The prosecution alleges that church leaders locked the victims in the neighborhoods' inner residences with lock; confiscated identification documents equivalent to driving licenses, passports, immigration documents and ID cards in thunder to prevent victims from escaping, ”prosecutors said in a statement. "Many victims, along with many who did not need rehabilitation products and services, said they were later detained on IVM properties in opposition to their will."
The victims said they were required to signal agreements and stick to rigid ideas. The contract's integrated phrases delight in “you're likely not to discuss industry issues” and “the biggest thing to teach is the Holy Bible” and “if any of the foundations are broken there will be self-discipline. "
Punishments for violations of ideas were supposed to be part of meal retention.
The alleged fraud came to light here when a 17-300 sixty-five day wear and tear escaped by breaking a window that had been nailed, according to the statement. The teenager rushed to a nearby property to name the police and receive treatment for the cuts suffered within the estate.
Alex Stone of ABC News contributed to this file.